The Ultimate Taco Salad is made with romaine and topped with all the classic ingredients, like black beans, tomato and avocado. It’s made with walnut taco meat, making it both vegetarian and gluten free, too!
Fun fact: tacos are my favorite food, so obviously I’m a big fan of taco salad. This recipe is, in my opinion, the ultimate taco salad that just so happens to be meatless, too.
Here’s the thing: I love tacos with meat just as much as the next person, but it’s kind of cool when you make a meatless recipe that so closely resembles meat that you don’t even miss real meat. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m really big on meat alternatives like seitan and tempeh, but I also really like creating “meat” out of walnuts! It’s surprisingly tasty and the texture isn’t too far off.
This salad is perfect for making ahead of time and taking to work, or on the weekends for an easy and quick lunch recipe.
WHY I LOVE THIS TACO SALAD
- It combines all of the best ingredients into one, healthy salad recipe
- The protein is actually walnut taco meat (don’t judge until you try it!)
TACO SALAD INGREDIENTS
- Black beans
- Mexican cheese
- Walnut taco meat
HOW TO MAKE WALNUT TACO MEAT
I actually have another recipe sort of similar to this one, except it’s made with kale instead of romaine. Traditionally, when I think of tacos, I think of romaine lettuce, so I wanted to create another version of my favorite salad. Plus, I know there are plenty of people who dislike kale.
Anyway, I already covered how to make walnut taco meat in this post, so head on over there to get all the details.
HOW TO STORE TACO SALAD
A really good taco salad is made like a regular salad, but the key is keeping the “meat” warm. I love when I go out to eat and order a salad, and the salmon/chicken/fajita veggies/WHATEVER is served warm over a bed of lettuce. Love it. The same can apply with this salad recipe, and the trick (I mean it’s not really a trick…) is storing the walnut “meat” separate from the rest of the salad.
Store the lettuce, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, and cilantro in one bowl.
Keep the walnut “meat” separate, and don’t cut the avocado until you’re ready to serve and eat the salad.
OTHER HEALTHY SALAD RECIPES
The Ultimate Taco Salad
- 18 oz. romaine lettuce*
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced
- 1 cup corn
- 1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 2-3 tbsp cilantro chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
for the walnut taco meat:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
for the dressing:
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp sauce from chipotle in adobo can
- juice from 1 lime
- Shred lettuce in a food processor, then transfer to a large bowl. Top the lettuce with beans, tomatoes, corn, cheese, and cilantro; set aside.
- For the walnut meat: add walnuts, paprika, garlic, and cumin to a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds; then, add the soy sauce and pulse until everything is combined. Transfer mixture to a skillet and heat the walnuts for 5 minutes or until warm; add walnuts to the bowl.
- For the dressing: add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add avocado and drizzle dressing over salad before serving.